There’s a new idea going around this October.
Children who are autistic, or otherwise nonspeaking, can carry a blue pumpkin Halloween night. This will signal to the treat-giver that the child wants candy, but can’t say the words, “Trick or Treat.”
Similar ideas have popped up in past years, such as bags with the words, “I can’t say Trick or Treat, but I’m trying!”
While I understand the sentiment, my family will not be using them. Here’s why:
1. I’m the one in charge of protecting my children.
It’s my job to make sure my children aren’t harassed or emotionally abused on Halloween, and every other day of the year. Their emotional health is my top priority.
I can’t be certain that every person in the neighborhood knows what the blue pumpkin signifies. I can assure you, most people won’t have a clue.
So instead of relying on others to be kind, I will only take my kids to visit places where I know they’ll be welcome. We may attend a “Trunk or Treat” at their school. Everyone knows them there!
We might even knock on a few of our neighbor’s doors – But only the ones who know us personally. There are plenty of safe spaces to choose from that don’t involve trusting a stranger with my children.
2. Mean old Mary down the street doesn’t really care about my kid’s issues.
The people who harass children to say “Trick or Treat” aren’t in my Disability Rights group on Facebook. They aren’t calling the school board about inclusive practices.
They probably don’t even know that the blue pumpkin is a “thing,” and they couldn’t care less. Withholding candy for performance is a controlling act, and no “awareness” swag is going to change their ways.
3. Labeling disabled people is wrong.
Call me over-dramatic, I don’t care.
I’m not putting a label on my kids just so strangers will treat them with respect. They don’t need to explain themselves to anyone, just to validate their participation in an activity with everyone else.
I’m teaching my kids that they’re worthy of respect no matter what. They don’t need to wear a label or a sticker. They don’t need to explain their existence. They just need to be themselves… (or a fire fighter, or a wolf, or an alligator)!
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